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Black Rain

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3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,139 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
Black Rain is centered around the story of a young woman who was caught in the radioactive "black rain" that fell after the bombing of Hiroshima. lbuse bases his tale on real-life diaries and interviews with victims of the holocaust; the result is a book that is free from sentimentality yet manages to reveal the magnitude of the human suffering caused by the atom bomb. The ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 15th 1988 by Kodansha (first published 1965)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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William1
May 04, 2014 William1 rated it really liked it
A sensitive handling of numerous eyewitness accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima served up in novel format. The story starts one year after the bombing with the main character, Shigematsu, pondering the future of his niece Yasuko's marriage prospects. There is a persistent rumor that Yasuko was in Hiroshima City on the day of the bombing and now suffers from radiation sickness. Shigematsu, frustrated, as a means of correcting the inaccuracy, suggests a perusal of Yasuko's diary for Aug. 6 ...more
Mariel
Apr 19, 2011 Mariel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: peninsulas
Recommended to Mariel by: islands (oookay, it was amazon!)
Sick birds hide their illnesses from other birds as well as from predators. The people in Black Rain with radiation sickness in Hiroshima might have taken their cue from birds... I couldn't help but think of birds as I read about how the mutual horror turned into a bring out your dead collective mistrust and disgust. It occured to me that the suspicion and paranoia were acting to shove them out as if they were already dead. The mushroom cloud Alice ate turned everything bigger and littler and no ...more
Nicole~
Thundery black clouds had borne down on us from the direction of the city, and the rain from them had fallen in streaks the thickness of a fountain pen.


Ibuse's documentary novel Black Rain is his widely acclaimed masterpiece about the aftermath of Hiroshima, expressed through the diaries of two survivors, Shigematsu and his niece, Yasuko. Shigematsu uses the diaries to try to prove that Yasuko is marriage-worthy, untainted by any poisonous fallout. Ibuse's tale recounts the lives of innocent, or
...more
umberto
Dec 01, 2013 umberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
In brief, this book by Masuji Ibuse based "his tale on real-life diaries and interviews with victims of the holocaust" (back cover) caused by the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945 at Hiroshima around 8.15 a.m. is worth reading since we could fathom their plight amidst those unlucky fallen Japanese citizens of all ages there; while reading it I could not help praying and hoping that unthinkable man-made catastrophe would never happen again anywhere, it is simply bitterly touching due to the writer's ...more
Rose
Aug 22, 2011 Rose rated it really liked it
Black Rain is Masuji Ibuse's classic novel about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the ensuing nuclear fallout. Regarded as one of the best novels ever written about the bombing, Black Rain deals with the tragedy with a delicate frankness.

The story's main characters are Shigematsu Shizuma (a manager at a clothing manufacturing plant), his niece Yasuko, and wife Shigeko. Ibuse employs the method of a "story within a story" to describe the events of the day of and immediately following the bomb
...more
Patricia
May 21, 2009 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
This is a beautiful and harrowing account of the bombing of Hiroshima. Ibuse's overt condemnations of violence are sparing; he lets his relentless catlog of horrors speak for itself. Ibuse's focus on Shigemura and his family focuses and shapes this account of massive suffering as he juxtaposes it with simple daily concerns and hopes. The account of Yasuko's failed marriage plans brings home the tragedy of lives deprived of fundamental hopes and expectations. The book also includes an understated ...more
Antigone
Aug 20, 2010 Antigone rated it really liked it
An assigned book in highschool English, I went out and re-purchased this one for my library in the last few years. I really appreciated the book when I read it. As a child of the nuclear age, I wondered and cared about the effects of a nuclear holocaust.... mostly because I think I was pretty sure I was going to experience one in my lifetime. This book portrays the life lived by civilian Japanese after the bomb and amazingly does so without interjecting blame. By avoiding deliberations or recrim ...more
Ali Heidari
Apr 06, 2016 Ali Heidari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«باران سیاه» بر اساس مستندات تاریخی دوران بمباران شیمیایی هیروشیما نوشته شده است. روزنامه یومیوری ژاپن از این اثر به عنوان «شفافترین و عمیقترین تصویری که از فاجعه هیروشیما در ذهن ادبیات نقش بسته» یاد کرده است. ...more
G.G.
A beautifully crafted novel by a novelist who was born in Hiroshima and deploys his intimate knowledge of the layout of the city and the topography of the local area--right down to the train lines--to create this moving portrait of a people in shock, stolidly coping with the cataclysm that has been unleashed on them.

There are touches of dark humor, like this paragraph at the end of chapter 5. The narrator has survived the blast and with enormous difficulty struggled back to his home, which at t
...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
We are fortunate that the early half of the Twentieth Century gave us small glimpses of Hell... We have no excuses... We know the horror.
Black Rain is supposed to be a work of fiction but I find that hard to believe - there are too many things that scream out that this is a first-hand experience, that the things we read about were actually seen: blobs of melted lead on sticky tarmac; corpses lying charred on the road; victims walking through dense smoke, ruined shadowy shapes, stumbling over cha
...more
Faizah Roslaini
1 - Ibuse menulis tanpa sentimen, beliau tidak menyuruh pembaca merasa. Sebaliknya, kita akan merasa sendiri dari deskripsi dan gambaran pada hari 6 Ogos tersebut.

2 - Satu demi satu gambaran tentang mayat-mayat boleh menjadikan pembaca akhirnya lali dengan mayat. Mungkin itu perasaan rakyat Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Mayat-mayat bergelimpangan di sana sini dan melihatnya setiap hari, barangkali mereka sudah tidak ada perasaan.

3 - Sayang sekali translasi DBP ini sangat hambar. Amat sedikit sekali yang
...more
Amene
Mar 14, 2014 Amene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
خیلی خوب بود،یک کمی اول و آغاز خواندنش سخت بود ولی کم کم که به نثرو روایت نویسنده عادت کردم و برایم خوش خوان شد.
من همواره با ادبیات و کل متعلقات فرهنگ آسیای شرق مشکل ارتباطی دارم ولی با این اثر،علی رغم این که جزو آثار تقریبا کلاسیک محسوب می شود ،ارتباط خوبی برقرار کردم.رئالیسم تلخ و گزنده و زبان توصیف گر نویسنده شاید بعضی موارد خسته کننده به نظر برسد ولی لازمه ی این چنین موضوعی استفاده از زبان دقیق و روایت موشکافانه است.هرچند به نظر رمان می آید ولی به نظرمن درحقیقت زندگینامه ی خودنوشتی است که با
...more
Jonathan Forisha
Dec 18, 2009 Jonathan Forisha rated it really liked it
Extremely literary in the way it was written, even though this book was translated, it's clear that Ibuse is a gifted writer. His descriptions are so painfully realistic that I know he knew his subject well - perhaps better than he wished. There's a plethora of information throughout this novel about the bombing of Hiroshima and life in Japan at this time, and while sometimes the descriptions can take the forefront to the plot and the characters, the novel succeeds very well at what it sets out ...more
Maureen
May 20, 2011 Maureen rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese-7b
Historically, this is a very valuable book. As a story, it's only ok. It's mostly first-person accounts of the Hiroshima bombing, tied together with a storyline about a couple who are looking for a husband for their niece. They can't find anyone to marry her because suitors are concerned about radiation sickness. To fight the rumors and prove that his niece is healthy, the uncle writes a diary of the bombing. The descriptions are pretty graphic and the book is uncomfortable to read, but since th ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Apr 04, 2015 Tariq Mahmood rated it it was amazing
War paralysis people's power of judgement.

It is mind boggling that the great nation of United States which was seething in anger after the terrorist attack on 9/11 and commanded so much sympathy as a result of the human carnage on its innocent citizens, could be the instigator of not one but two completely needless and vicious atomic bomb attacks on Japanese cities teeming with ordinary civilians. It is clear to me that the results of this horrible act of state terror were deliberately masked b
...more
David
Jul 18, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-red-circle
It's about Hiroshima. It's really intense.

"That" moment features heavily at the beginning and end:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSD9sOMkfOo
The ambiguity, the confusion, the baby eels, the rainbows and ... something a bit like hope. It's pretty powerful.

C.P Snow is on the cover of my edition saying that it's "A major work of art," which is nice to see. He probably liked it for the science / literature face /off aspect.
poingu
Sometimes the best books leave me speechless. This is one of them.
Jim Dooley
Nov 09, 2014 Jim Dooley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very difficult book for me to read...not because of the writing style, which was excellent, but because of the subject matter. It details, through narrative and diary format, what it was like to live in and around Hiroshima in the days just before the atomic bomb dropped until about a year afterward. It is a fictional work, but based on authentic resources.

It is literally beyond my comprehension to grasp what it was like to live through that event. And, despite the graphic description
...more
Ryan
Jan 21, 2016 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An antiwar novel, Black Rain probes the effects on humans of the atomic bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima on August 1945. It is presented as diary entries of a family (husband, wife, niece) describing their escape from the destroyed city and their encounters with the victims of the bomb. The frame of the story is the niece Yasuko being involved in matchmaking for a promising marriage. Having learned that she was possibly exposed to radiation while fleeing Hiroshima, single men who were consi ...more
Sarah
Sep 26, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin
Jan 24, 2011 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Black Rain is set several years after WWII and is told through the main narrator Shigematsu Shizuma as he and a small group of local survivors, including his family, struggle with the stigma and mysterious symptoms of radiation sickness. Which the only cure seems to be that of the common cold and a lot rest; it's that last part that seems to be so upsetting to Japanese sensibility. The narrative revolves around Shigematsu Shizuma’s niece, Yasuko, who is not yet married, and rumors that she was h ...more
Evan
Reading this novel was, in part, like watching a sports team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. For about half the way Masuji Ibuse notched a five-star work on his belt, but, at some point, the author let it all get away from him somewhat--because he seemed less compelled to stick to his powerful, poetic story than to set down for posterity the "novel of record" about the bombing of Hiroshima. Granted, I am somewhat glad he did this, because as a documentary "sights and sounds" kaleidoscopi ...more
Lis
Sep 03, 2012 Lis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012, japan
Masuji Ibuse's novel of the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima is structured around accounts written or reported by survivors of the attack. I was struck by its' very ordinariness, just people getting on with their lives in the best way they could and dealing, however they could, with the chaos surrounding them. It is not sensational, gruesome or graphic in a way intended to startle or scare. The writing is not very political or emotional, it just is. I wondered how I would behave in the situ ...more
Frank Maccormack
Aug 26, 2011 Frank Maccormack rated it really liked it
This novel was a bit of a battle for me to get through, though not for the usual reasons. It is well written, the characters are identifiable and worthy of the reader's interest, and the story is relatively well paced. The issue I had concerned the very nature of the story itself: a fictional but fact-based account of the aftermath of an all-too-real event in history. This can cause a sort of "lack of expectation" on the part of the reader, where neither the twists and turns of pure fiction nor ...more
John
Feb 11, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
An amazing novel. Extremely powerful, very consistent. There were parts that were about "facts", things that i might not normally care, about certain businesses and issues of Hiroshima- the /place/. Or details of lives of many different people. Somehow it made you care about these things.

There was something wonderful about the descriptions of food in this book. I loved how it made things seem as if good eating was very important. "eating lots of nourishing foods" was a quote that appeared a cou
...more
Shelly - The Illustrated Librarian -
Extremely moving, realistic, non-propagandized story of the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath.

The story is told after the bombing and the war. The main storyteller is trying to help his niece get married, and the prospective groom is concerned with her whereabouts during the bombing, as she is survivor.

Black Rain not only gives graphic descriptions of the results of the bombing, but also deals with the aftermath following the war. Survivors were treated as pariahs in Japanese society, as
...more
Nitisha
Nov 28, 2015 Nitisha rated it really liked it
One sees the sights as described by the author, the dead bodies oozing blood and vacant stares of people who lost their kin post the Hiroshima holocaust. Definitely one of those books that jolt you out of your banal, everyday routine of cribbing with your first-world problems.
Jeff
Nov 19, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it
This book is sad. If you are easily upset or have a weak stomach, it's probably best that you don't read it. Seriously.

That being said, this book is valuable in that it describes the days after the Hiroshima bombing in painful detail. The first fifty pages or so deal with the bomb actually dropping, but after that, it is just what happens to the people. I thought that was interesting.

While it deals mainly with what happened between the Hiroshima bombing and the end of the war (August 6-August 15
...more
Amy
Jun 05, 2009 Amy added it
Oh my. Vivid descriptions of the bombing of Hiroshima. A lot of information about the scarcity of food in wartime, about the resourcefulness of women in managing the household affairs under these conditions. There are some very Japanese concepts of usefulness and the importance placed on work in the attitudes of the town towards those with radiation sickness; thinking to other wartime films, such a concept is seen also in 'Grave of the Fireflies', where the children are unable to be practical an ...more
Heather(Gibby)
This is a very poignantly written book told from the point of view from a man living outside of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. It tells the story of how the people coped who did not understand what was happening to them, the people around them, and their environment. The book tells the story from a first person narrative. What I really liked about it is that it was not an omniscient point of view, and did not delve into what was happening in the world or the politics around why the ...more
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110156
Masuji Ibuse (井伏 鱒二) was a Japanese novelist.

At Waseda University, Ibuse was greatly influenced by the works of Shakespeare and Basho; he was also an avid reader of French fiction and poetry. Ibuse went as far as to pawn a watch to try to understand the necessities of writers.

In 1918 Ibuse met naturalist writer Iwano Homei. Homei's literature was appealing to Ibuse and would later influence some o
...more
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“Could this be my own face, I wondered. My heart pounded at the idea, and the face in the mirror grew more and more unfamiliar.” 7 likes
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